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Reindeer Games: Tracking Caribou in the Slate Islands

Happy coincidence for wildlife-loving paddlers: Canoes and woodland caribou converge like nowhere else on Earth in Ontario's Slate Islands. PLUS: See video of caribou on the move.

Plan It
Ontario’s Slate Islands

The Way
Access the Slates from the public dock at the mouth of the Aguasabon River in the town of Terrace Bay along King’s Highway 17, 500 miles from Minneapolis-St. Paul or 650 miles from Detroit. Paddle (or take a ferry) the final eight miles of open water on Lake Superior.

When to go
July and August are optimal–after the bugs thin out but before the ferocious fall stormy season. But even in summer, Lake Superior has a reputation for nasty, mercurial weather, so build an extra day into your itinerary and bring extra food.

Gear
Pack bomber raingear (a downpour is all but guaranteed during a weeklong stay), plus a winter hat, gloves, and baselayers (it has snowed here in July).

Maps and Permit
Request a map when you call the park office (807-825-3403) to purchase your required Crown Land Camping Permit ($10/night Canadian).
Ferry Slate Islands Charters, (807) 825-9333. Captain Tom Falzetta can tell you where the caribou have been most active.

Caribou Conservation
Read how the Slate Island Caribou fit into the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ massive mainland recovery plan at mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/2ColumnSubPage/249504.html.

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